Dogs come in all shapes and sizes – and the squat, muscular pit bull terrier, with its sharp row of teeth, is more than a little controversial.
Both the ownership and breeding of pit bulls is banned in the UK due to the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991.
They’re not the only breed that’s outlawed, either. But why is it that you’re not allowed to call one your pet?
In 1991 the Government decided to ban pit bulls in response to a slew of incidents involving vicious, often unprovoked attacks, by this particular breed of dog, on humans.
There were 15 fatal dog attacks in England and Wales alone between 1981 and 1991.
The other three breeds that were outlawed in this Act were the Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro. Cross-breeds of the four types are also banned.
However, it is up to a court to determine whether the physical characteristics of a specific dog mean that it should be prohibited.
If the court decides the dog is fine for ownership, the animal must still wear a muzzle, be kept on a lead in public, as well as being registered and insured, neutered, tattooed and fitted with a microchip implant.
Though there is no scientific backing for the presumption these dogs are more aggressive or dangerous than any other breed, they have been favoured as pets by criminals, many of whom train them as attack dogs.
However, many other breeds like Alsations, Rottweilers and Dobermans have a similar past and reputation, but are not banned.
Even if you do have an exemption allowance to own a pit bull, you cannot breed them, sell them or exchange them.